Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Back where I used to live, the locally-owned grocery store would make sugar cookies for the occasion, with a disc of white frosting topped with a green blob. Green eggs, right? It was pretty cool. Always bought them.

Today was one of those days at work. We need two signatures on the checks, and there are four signers. One’s down with a bad back, one’s mother is in the hospital, and one’s out on the coast somewhere. The one with the bad back is also the metaphorical backbone of the place. Without her there, I feel like I’ve been dropped in the middle of the ocean. One of the members came in to the office and said, “Hey, I think So-and-so just had a small seizure. I didn’t know what to do.” I get up and out the front door, but he’s two blocks away, so I call his case worker, because he’s obviously okay, but what does this mean?

But first thing this morning, I noticed the air. It was still just above zero, but there was a different note in the air, hot sun on thick snow. Spring is coming.

IMG_1240Otherwise known as the day of confusion. I work Monday through Thursday, which my brain tells me is a full week. So Friday feels like Saturday, but with everything open.

IMG_1242 My little copper friend here is one of those things that happen. So as to not poison the kitteh, I make pickle from lemon juice and salt, and left this little shape in it over- night, or maybe two. The sparkle side looks like crystals were etched in the surface. And that bright blue-green is wonderful too. So this piece might be done. I could spray it with fixative spray, or let it sit and see what happens next. I wonder if there’s a market for odd little shapes? Because they’re my favorite thing.IMG_1241
(If you look close, you can see the bit of silver solder that did not melt or run. Working with a Bernzomatic made me think I’d lost my mind, completely forgetting how to solder. [cautions:exaggeration ahead] The three pages of Warning! Danger! on the MAP gas cylinder is upsetting me a little, too. There’s a way forward. I haven’t found it yet.)

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Wildly bad color, but I’m lazy today. I spent my energy shopping for bits and bobs to ornament The Comet.

Avoiding Walmart, I started at the local craft shoppe, which I might mock, but I am reasonably happy with their selection, and besides, sometimes you need to go pull open twenty or thirty drawers of little bits of color. The local craft shoppe has the whole DMC case. And why is the arrangement of that case so crazy-making? Why aren’t all the browns together, and the reds, and the greens? Instead you have to open every single little drawer all the way out. Normally I find this a good thing, but I was really trying to find just a few colors – with “a few” turning into 15. Maybe that’s why.

The next stop was the hardware store – and this is so weird. The guy who is a jerk, who is always a jerk, to the point where I cross the street to avoid him – was nice. “Made jokes” nice. “Gave me advice” nice. I think the store changed hands a few months ago. Maybe they got big huge raises? Anyway. We had a discussion about MAP gas, and how handy those little suitcase oxy-acetylene kits are. Like I am worthy of breathing his air, suddenly. Cool. I like hardware guys that believe you aren’t dumb. (The big yellow cylinder is MAP gas, which I think isn’t as explosive as the label might make you think. I hope.)

No walking to get to the quilt shop, and there I had a sad. Being a quilt shop, they don’t have a lot of choices for sewing machine thread. I did manage to pick up those two spools of shiny towards the back, along with that nice yellow. I still need a neutral grey, for patching jeans, and maybe beads. I might want beads; I’m not sure yet. So I will still have to go to Walmart. But, including the pharmacy, I got stuff done at four local businesses. Not bad, for a little town.

(There’s a reason behind this sudden burst of blogging. I’ve been needing to write short articles for the local paper, just quick 4-5 sentence pieces, all breezy and fun. And it’s been taking hours. Well, okay, maybe an hour, hour and a half. But I realized I haven’t been writing for ten months now, since I got out of school. Letting all that facility flow away is something I can’t let happen. So I’m back.)

Katniss was all put out by us again today. I left in the morning, Daughter left around noon and we didn’t get back home till close to 3. Who was here to pet her? She was alone for three hours! Did we think she could take care of herself? What kind of fiends are we? After much scritching, and yes, closing my laptop so she could lie on top of it to be scritched, we are a happy family again.

I think Katniss really needs a puppy. Yet another reason to think about buying a house.

Work was not as stressful as it normally is. Two people were not in attendance, one of whom is so very very needy. I took advantage of it and rolled through as much work as I could. It was great. And my desk, whose purchase was an epic saga of its own, was delivered today. Now to find time to put it together, and find somebody to haul the useable but totally unsatisfactory thing I’ve been camped out on away. And then put all my stuff in and on the new one. I think I’ll be working Friday.

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Working on a thing. Somewhere along the line I saw an image from an illustrated manuscript of a comet. I think I saved the link, and I think I lost the link when the cat miraculously wiped out three folders of bookmarks. And yes, she is “the cat” today. She has been an asshole since we got home. Sorry, cat. We had a long day, and not just to spite you.

So anyway. The thing. It’s acrylic on muslin, roughly 20 x 37″. Why muslin, and not canvas? Because I am going to do things to it, and then quilt it, and then hang it on a wall. Yesterday I was ready to pitch it and start over, because the background wasn’t dark enough. But that wasn’t the real problem; the real problem was that it looked like some sort of weird bug (I didn’t take any pictures of this stage). So, as long as it was ruined, I could do what I wanted to it. Liberation!

It’s a nice project, for a number of reasons. Painting isn’t a strong point, so I’m learning lots – some of it by force. I work on it for an hour or two, and then have to leave it for a while to dry, so I am working on other things along with it. And because it was an epic fail for a while, it released me from careful into a more open mode.

I am envious of people who do controlled and smooth and elegant. I have frequent discussions with myself over this, and the only conclusion I can come to is that if I were the sort of person who was controlled and smooth and elegant, I would work like that. So I must not be that person.

The wind is crazy here, and my prayer flags are in tatters.

I woke up this morning to the realization that I had left my iron on – last weekend, I think.

Met my state senator, who was talking about Walker’s state budget, to be passed by July 1st. Almost burst into tears in a room full of strangers.

And why didn’t anyone tell me about Lawrence Ferlinghetti? I’m reading “Coney Island of the Mind.” I was born during the beat generation. I think it’s my home.

And also, I am officially old enough to be a grandmother, mentally. Two people came banging at my door yesterday, and I’d decided I didn’t care who they were or what they were selling, they were coming in to get out of the cold.

Unfortunately, they were selling Girl Scout cookies. I drew the line at three boxes.

They came while I was baking a spice cake (with garam masala replacing the cinnamon). I take breaks on occasion and eat food.

I made a book – well, I started making a book, and I realized it had issues. So I wrote what all the issues were on the book, and took a picture of it to prove that I was at least trying.

Except the picture is pretty poor, so I went to open Gimp to see if I could breathe some life into it –

And Gimp won’t open.

I started on a bell, but the torch I’m using doesn’t give out enough heat to anneal the metal.

I started working on a painting on muslin, but I have doubts.

I started working on another bell, but I was having trouble scoring the metal. It’s like I forgot everything. And I also lost the scribe I was going to use to start the score lines.

At which point I decided it was time to abandon ship for the night.

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Gimp decided to load. Here’s the book and the notes.

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This is what happened the first time I tried to brighten the image.

Mercury goes out of retrograde on the 11th, I believe.

I picked up my camera today. It’s been almost two months.

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While the sun is not in any of the pictures I took, I am still aware of it.

I’m trying this new thing, where you sketch out your design, and then test your materials, before jumping in with both feet. This new thing also implies/requires that you stay focused at least part-time on one idea. We’ll see how that works.

Also, I discovered that new saw blades are better than old ones, especially ones that you can no longer see the teeth on. There is nothing noble in taking ten times as long to cut a piece of metal, especially when the blade just rips it to shreds.

And I just noticed there’s a full moon. It’s petty, too.

Also, on what’s going on in the US today, if one stops to think. On the Guardian;

Hannah Arendt anticipated them when she wrote that “for the first time in history, all peoples on earth have a common present … Every country has become the almost immediate neighbour of every other country, and every man feels the shock of events which take place at the other end of the globe.” Indeed, it may be imperative to explore this negative solidarity of mankind – a state of global existence in which people from different pasts find themselves thrown together in a common present. For Arendt feared, correctly as it turns out, that this inescapable “unity of the world” might result in a “tremendous increase in mutual hatred and a somewhat universal irritability of everybody against everybody else”.

I got stuff to say, but not right now. Except that after reading “Still Alice” I am compelled to remind myself on an hourly basis that I have always been this spacey. Not terribly reassuring, but it’s all I got.

(Daughter is playing Rock Band, specifically Beatles. It is entering my psyche.)

So, we went to the coffee shop today*, and I bought a book of critical essays titled The Beowulf Poet. The front cover has a name written in it, in a very vertical script that reminds me of my oldest brother’s handwriting – Joan, some Germanic name, ending with two F’s?

Joan has left tiny check-marks along the margins of the text. I haven’t quite figured out what train of thought she was pursuing, but I’m just 20 pages in. Someone owned the book after her, because I can’t see Joan, with her sharp pencil with a slightly hard lead, defacing the book with a pink highlighter.

So, with a bow to my own possible mortality, or maybe it’s a nod to the value of the hive-mind,I think I will start by writing my name in all my books, starting with this one. Not crossing out Joan’s name, but adding in parenthesis between her name and mine, that some unfortunately modern and unknown soul had the book, leaving the pink marker as her commentary. And when I’m not here, or when I send it back out into the world, adding something – at the end? Referring back here while I’m reading Tolkien’s translations? Don’t know.

The book has already added a thing to my head – “a wilderness of dragons.” As sensible as a murder of crows.

Photo on 2015-12-28 at 12.29

 
looking out onto the Lake; a cold morning.

*One of the three hip-and-aware in this little tiny area. I’m lucky there. Here. Whatever.

Also, Daughter is now playing “Dear Prudence.” I think I have to resuscitate my turntable.

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